Family History and Genealogy Resources by Surname
Keith Surname Origin
From the parish and lands of Keith, in Banffshire, Scotland. The name Keith is said to be derived from the Gaelic Gaoth, wind, pronounced somewhat similarly to Keith. The old village and kirk are called Arkeith, which may be a corruption of the Gaelic Ard Gaoth, signifying 'high wind,' which corresponds to its locality, which is peculiarly exposed to gusts of wind. In some old charters, Keith is written Gith, which still more resembles Gaith. I think the name is derived from the Welsh Caeth, a place surrounded, shut up, inclosed, a deep hollow, a strait. The root of the word is the Welsh Cau, to close, to shut up. Concerning this family, the traditional account is, that they came from Germany in the reign of the Emperor Otho, and from the principality of Hesse, from which they were expelled in some revolution. The first person of this family of whom our oldest historians take notice, is Robert De Keith, to whom Malcom II., King of Scotland, gave the barony of Keith, in East Lothian, as a reward for killing Camus, a Danish general, who then invaded Scotland with a numerous army. The battle was fought at Barry, seven miles from Dundee, where an obelisk, called Camus' stone, still preserves the memory of the victory, and it is said the king, dipping his three fingers in the blood of the general, stroked them along the field of the Scotch [sic] champion's shield, to whom, besides the landed estate before mentioned, he gave the dignity of Great Marshal of Scotland.
Source: An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names With an Essay on their Derivation and Import; Arthur, William, M.A.; New York, NY: Sheldon, Blake, Bleeker & CO., 1857.
Keith Surname Meaning and Family Facts
There is more to Keith family history than the origin of your surname:
A Keith Family History Thought:
'I saw behind me those who had gone, and before me, those who were to come. I looked back and
saw my father, and his father, and all our fathers, and in front, to see my son, and his son, and the
sons upon sons beyond.
And their eyes were my eyes.
As I felt, so they had felt, and were to feel, as then, so now, as tomorrow and forever.
Then I was not afraid, for I was in a long line that had no beginning, and no end, and the hand of his father grasped my father's hand, and his hand was in mine, and my unborn son took my right hand, and all, up and down the line that stretched from Time That Was, to Time That Is, and Is Not Yet, raised their hands to show the link, and we found that we were one...' --Richard Llewellyn in How Green Was My Valley